Landmark State Supreme Court decision establishes parentage for Gay Parents
Boston, Massachusetts January 7, 2011 — In an unprecedented decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that two gay men could be recognized as legal parents on the birth certificate of their twins born through surrogacy. This is the first time in U.S. history that a state high court has acknowledged the parentage of two men while stating the relevant statute “confer(s) parental status on an intended parent who is a party to a valid gestational agreement irrespective of that intended parent’s genetic relationship to the children.” It “has created a new way by which persons may become legal parents.”
“This is the single most important decision in the history of gay men having children through surrogacy,’ said John Weltman, Esq., president of Circle Surrogacy, and author of an amicus brief in the case. “For a state high court to recognize the right of two gay men to be legal fathers of a child from the outset of the surrogacy process sets an incredible precedent. Furthermore, it positions Connecticut as one of the best states in the country for couples – gay and straight - to pursue gestational surrogacy with egg donation to create their family.”
Anthony Raftopol and Shawn Hargon, an American couple residing in Hungary, had a daughter through surrogacy, and were both recognized as her child’s legal father on the birth certificate. They then had twins in April 2008 through the same gestational surrogate and egg donor. When the couple petitioned the court to be named as the children’s legal parents, the court granted their petition. However, this time the Attorney General, acting on behalf of the Connecticut Department of Health, attempted to block the creation of the birth certificate, stating that parentage could only be established through conception, adoption or artificial insemination.
The Supreme Court rejected this claim, noting that according to the Department of Health’s argument, a child born to an infertile couple who had entered into a gestational agreement with egg and sperm donors and a gestational carrier would be born parentless. “The legislature cannot be presumed to have intended this consequence,” the Court declared, “which is so absurd as to be Kafkaesque.” The revolutionary decision acknowledges that entry into a valid gestational agreement creates a fourth method to establish parentage, regardless of biological relation.